superyou

superman

So you can fly? So what? So can I . . . uh, I mean . . .

I got to thinking about my last post. Why is it that we resonate with B.B. so much? Is it that he’s superhuman? More than fifty albums and a gazillion hits is pretty herculean.

But, no. That’s not it. If he were superhuman, we wouldn’t be able to relate to him. That’d be like saying, “I love Superman because I can fly.” But we can’t fly. In fact, the only reason Superman works is because he’s actually Clark Kent, and Clark has his downfalls, too.

The best villains are those we feel sorry for, and the best heroes are people just like me and just like you.

And that, I think, is our clue.

B.B. had a talent. As a kid, he had rhythm. He had rhyme. He had a voice. And, most importantly, he had a song. His song was his passion, and it was his passion that carried him through. Eighty-seven years and he’s still singin’ and playin’ his heart out. And he’s loving every minute of it.

superman-clark-kent-routh

Clark Kent’s a goober—just like me and you (images: borg.com)

And that, I think, is our second clue.

Everyone has a talent. Some of us have a few. B.B.’s was music. Michael Jordan‘s was sports. Einstein‘s was science. Shakespeare‘s was words . . . Clark Kent could fly. Monet could paint. Tom Hanks could act . . . You can _____. I can _____.

The people the world remembers are those who had a talent and went for it with everything they had. They went for it because they loved it. And because they loved it, people loved them. Their talent had become their gift: the world was a better place because of them.

Can you imagine a world where everyone was doing what they loved?

hollywood vs. real life

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”      Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo (2011)

A blogger friend recently reminded me of this quote. It sounds nice, right? But I’m here to tell you that Benjamin Mee is WRONG. Benjamin Mee is wrong because Hollywood is wrong. Hollywood is wrong all the time.

See for yourself. Take any Hollywood movie, and see how it stacks up in “real life.” Boy meets girl, lives happily ever after. Injured animal rescued, set free. Rookie works hard, makes it to the big leagues. The workplace is glamor and, “Caviar, anyone?” Sex leads to love. And, sometimes, all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage, and something great will come of it.

The keyword here (which Hollywood downplays) is “sometimes.”

Let me back up. For those of you who haven’t seen the film, Benjamin Mee is referring to how he met his wife. He saw her in a restaurant window as he was passing by. She was beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that he did something crazy. He went inside and introduced himself. She smiled, and they talked. The rest is history.

Yeah, right.

Perhaps I am growing cynical with age (the big 3-0 is no longer that far off), but when was the last time you met a couple that met in such a way? That lasted? Hollywood is full of fabrications, and while we may laugh it off (“It’s nice to dream!”), I feel it can actually do us harm. Because what happens when the girl doesn’t smile? What happens when the animal doesn’t survive? What happens when you don’t make the big leagues and work is sloppy ties and, “French fries?”

We end up feeling disappointed with our lives and foolish about our bravery because Hollywood has set us up with unrealistic expectations about their outcomes.

Not that it isn’t a good quote or there aren’t times when we should be brave. I’ve always agreed with Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump (1994): “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” All of life is a gamble. In order to play, you have to be willing to take risks. It’s just . . . To me, it seems wise to hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. And when things don’t go the Hollywood way, keep your chin up. Don’t let “real life” get you down.

At least that’s what I keep telling myself. ;)